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UK moves swiftly to ban American Bully XL dogs after tragic attacks

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In response to a series of alarming dog attacks, including a recent fatal incident in Stonnall, Staffordshire, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his government are taking decisive action to ban American Bully XL dogs. These aggressive attacks have left a profound impact on communities and raised concerns about public safety.

Sunak addressed the nation and emphasized the urgency of the situation. He expressed his shared horror regarding the recent dog attacks, some of which tragically led to fatalities. Sunak declared that American Bully XL dogs are “a danger to our communities,” particularly to children. He asserted that the issue extends beyond a few poorly trained dogs, calling it a “pattern of behaviour” that cannot continue. The full text of the Prime Minister’s statement this morning appears below.

The PM has ordered urgent work to define and subsequently ban American Bully XL dogs. Currently, this breed is not officially defined in UK law, making the regulatory process even more essential.

Once the breed is officially defined, the government intends to ban it under the Dangerous Dogs Act. This comprehensive approach seeks to prevent further attacks and protect the well-being of individuals and communities across the nation.

However, opponents of breed-specific bans argue for a more nuanced approach. They contend that the behaviour of individual dogs and responsible ownership play a pivotal role in preventing attacks. While acknowledging the seriousness of recent incidents, these advocates stress the importance of addressing irresponsible breeding and ownership practices. They believe that education and awareness campaigns can encourage responsible ownership and emphasize the role of owners in controlling their pets.

The RSPCA has also voiced its concerns regarding “breed-specific bans,” which they argue might unfairly penalize non-violent dogs.

“We believe that emphasizing the type of dog over their individual actions is a flawed and failing approach,” the charity stated. “We’re deeply concerned to witness additional conversations about including another dog type on the banned list. Dog aggression is a highly intricate issue, and adopting a breed-focused approach is fundamentally flawed.”

The Dog’s Trust charity similarly expressed that any blanket ban would be “unjust” and result in the punishment of well-behaved animals.

The Prime Minister’s statement in full:

“The American XL bully dog is a danger to our communities, particularly our children.

I share the nation’s horror at the recent videos we’ve all seen. Yesterday we saw another suspected XL bully dog attack, which has tragically led to a fatality.

It is clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs, it’s a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on.

While owners already have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control, I want to reassure people that we are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public.

Today I have tasked ministers to bring together police and experts to firstly define the breed of dog behind these attacks, with the view to then outlawing it.

It is not currently a breed defined in law, so this vital first step must happen fast.

We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year.

These dogs are dangerous. I want to reassure the public that we will take all necessary steps to keep people safe.”

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